Citizens Library board member gets censured

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Citizens Library Association board of directors member Cynthia Rossi was censured by her colleagues for behavior they believe damaged the reputation of the library and is unbecoming of an appointed official. The board also asked for her resignation at a special meeting Monday night.

Rossi, however, believes the board is punishing her for being a fiscal watchdog and questioning the transparency of library goings-on.

Library board President Norm Richards and members Troy Breese, Joan Bruno, David Franz, Joe Manning, Susan Martinelli, Dennis McWreath and Mary Ellen West voted 8-1 in favor of the censure. Rossi opposed.

McWreath and Rossi opposed the motion calling for her to resign.

A lengthy censure document read by Martinelli accuses Rossi, in part, of damaging the reputation of the library, its current and former executive directors and several staff members; damaging the morale of the staff; impacting the library’s ability to recruit and retain good board members; causing the possible elimination or delay of payment of local funding; and verbally attacking at least one staff member and the board president.

According to the censure, Rossi also has refused to sign an agreement that outlines roles and expectations of board members and is designed to foster good relations among members of the board.

The censure amounts to a public admonishment, since the board does not have the authority to remove Rossi from her position. She was appointed by South Strabane Township supervisors as the township’s representative on the library board.

Board member Manning said the censure is symbolic, and another member said it reflects the board’s position of no-confidence in Rossi.

The library board approached South Strabane supervisors about replacing Rossi as the township’s representative, but the board of supervisors has not done so.

At Monday’s meeting, Rossi read a letter that was sent to the library board in April that includes excerpts of minutes from a South Strabane Township meeting in which Supervisor Ed Mazur said he believes Rossi is doing “an excellent job” and her job is to question what happens at the library.

Rossi said she will not resign from the board, and she doesn’t believe she was given much of a chance to refute the censure’s accusations.

“This is because I’ve questioned finances,” said Rossi, who noted the board’s by-laws don’t include censuring. “I have campaigned for fiduciary responsibility and it has not been present on this board, and that’s the issue.”

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